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The engaging presenter part II

TheEngagingPresenterPartII
Howtoconnectwithanyaudience
MichaelDouglasBrown

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Michael Brown

The Engaging Presenter Part II
How to connect with any audience

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The Engaging Presenter Part II: How to connect with any audience
1st edition
© 2013 Michael Brown & bookboon.com
ISBN 978-87-403-0409-1


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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
How to connect with any audience

Contents

Contents


Heads up!

8

Foreword

9

It’s about you and your audience

9

1How do I turn this guide into real skills?

10

1.1

Fear, flying, and what really persuades your audience

10

1.2

Gain personal authority by giving ‘fundamental’ respect

12


1.3

The fast track to promotion

13

1.4

Which part of your speech carries the greatest impact?

13

1.5

Making fear work for you

16

1.6

Two life choices

1.7

How to programme your subconscious in advance



360°
thinking

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360°
thinking

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360°
thinking

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Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

© Deloitte & Touche LLP and affiliated entities.

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
How to connect with any audience

Contents

2How do I discover my personal performance key?

25



Get engaged!

27



Pass the passion test!

29



Act as if you are already a confident speaker!

32



Have the courage to be imperfect!

35



Warm up and have fun!

36

3How do I speak when I’m using visual aids?

39

3.1

The bad news

39

3.2

The good news

40

3.3

Turning the screen off

40

3.4

You first, then the screen

41

3.5

The core visual-aids principle

42

3.6

How to stand and move when you use a large screen

43

3.7

Don’t engage with your own computer screen

46

3.8

Do jump directly to any slide, forward or back.

46

3.9

Avoid ‘this is a cow’

46

3.10

Electronic smartboards

47

3.11

Other sophisticated presentation software

47

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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Contents

4How do I become more persuasive and convincing?

48

4.1

Build rapport right at the beginning

48

4.2

Give them variety

49

4.2

Improve your persuasiveness by blirting

50

4.3

How to handle embarrassing mistakes

50

4.4

Keep your body language open

52

4.5

Be open, but not an open book

53

4.6

When your personal views conflict with your message

54

4.7

Look at people with your whole body

56

4.8

The power of deliberate silence

56

4.9

Bigger audiences want you to be bigger

58

4.10

Your notes and the lectern

59

4.11

Tell stories to make your message memorable

61

4.12

Make humour work for you

63

4.12

How to apologize or admit a mistake

65

4.13

Speak in a conversational language and tone

66

4.13

Signals to journalists

69

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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Contents

5How do I handle formal or special occasions?

71

5.1

Formal salutations

71

5.2

Introducing a speaker

71

5.2

Thanking a speaker

72

5.3

Farewelling a staff member or colleague

74

5.4

Presenting and receiving awards

76

5.5

Opening functions

77

5.6Funerals

77

5.7

79

Other speeches to family and friends

7Bibliography

83

8Endnotes

84

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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Heads up!

Heads up!
A word of warning about PowerPoint (and other visual aids).
If you believe that presentations are about non-stop PowerPoint with you providing the commentary,
then this guide may not be for you. But if you believe that PowerPoint can be an excellent aid to your
presentation – using the screen only when it illustrates the precise point you’re making – then you will
get good value from this guide.
PowerPoint is a brilliant invention. But when it arrived, the standard of presentations around the world
plummeted, because most presenters use it to avoid being in the spotlight. They think PowerPoint can do
the job for them.
They’re wrong. It’s people who persuade people, not visual displays. As you’ll see in this guide, that also
applies to scientists and all technical people who might believe that only the content counts.
The engaging presenter Part I showed you a preparation method that helped you organise your ideas
before allocating slide numbers. The method assumed you’ll be turning PowerPoint off between slides –
blanking out the screen.
How do you do that?
Couldn’t be simpler. There’s just one button involved – we’ll get to that in the section called How do I
speak when I’m using visual aids? What’s sobering is that in hundreds of training sessions with thou-sands
of presenters I have found very few who know what that button is.
The tide is turning. Long suffering, cynical, semi-hypnotised audiences (think Death by PowerPoint) are
demanding less Power-Point, more presenter.
That’s you.

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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Foreword

Foreword
It’s about you and your audience
I once co-presented with a dynamic visiting speaker from California. I warmed up in the wings by standing
in silence, eyes closed. He warmed up right beside me by jogging on the spot, throwing punches at the air.
I went on first, made my speech, and finished to satisfying applause. Then my co-presenter came on.
He strode to the centre of the stage, projecting his voice magnificently all the way. Many people sat
up straight, wide-eyed. They liked it. What a performance. What a showman. High energy, fluent, and
utterly confident. They looked at each other and you could almost see them thinking, Wow, this is going
to be great.
That approval lasted less than a minute. Then the audience started, once again, to look sideways at each
other, but this time the thinking was clearly, What’s this guy on? But he charged ahead, oblivious to the
rising negative signals – disconcerted looks, frowns, shaking heads.
Why did the audience change their minds?
Because it was so obviously all about him. Look what a wonderful presenter I am. They knew it and they
didn’t like it. He was about as connected with them as with an audience of concrete posts.
Yes, this guide does show you how to be competent and confident. But it also offers you the other half
of the story: how to speak with the audience, not at them. How to speak so that they warm to you and
your message. The principles are universal. The methods apply to almost any kind of speaking context:
meetings, presentations and formal speeches.
Discover the pleasures of engaging with your audience. Be a person who connects with people.
This guide is the result of hundreds of training workshops with thousands of people. It works.
Have fun.

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How do I turn this guide into real skills?

1How do I turn this guide into
real skills?
You could jump straight to the practical chapters ahead, but you’ll make significantly better use of them
if you read this chapter first.
Here’s a hint right away. An audience is more than individuals in the same room. It’s also a group
consciousness, an entity acutely sensitive to all the messages you send it – verbal and non-verbal,
conscious and subconscious.
What messages are you sending your audiences?

1.1

Fear, flying, and what really persuades your audience

Recently I caught a cab from Wellington Airport into the city. The driver rode in silence, until we were
in Victoria Tunnel – and then, in the middle of the tunnel in peak-hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic, he
turned his head back over the seat to look at me.
“What do you do, sir?” he asked.
I wanted his attention on the traffic, so I gave him the short answer. “I teach presentation skills.”
What a mistake. He lifted both hands off the wheel, waved them about in the air and shouted, “Speaking
in public! I love to speak in public!”
When his hands returned to the wheel and my face regained its normal colour, I learned that when he
was nine years old, back in Fiji, he had seen a great speaker and thought One day, I will be him. Now, he
used the cab to put bread on the table, but his hobby was hunting for opportunities to speak to family,
friends, sporting colleagues and at church. Any occasion would do.
That attitude is rare. Speaking in public is counted as one of the most terrifying of all social activities.
Yet it can so easily be fun, deeply satisfying, even thrilling, and a fast track to personal authority that
lasts a lifetime. I want to show you how to get all of that and more, along the way reducing fear to useful,
nervous adrenaline.

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How do I turn this guide into real skills?

Good timing! Western cultures have begun to value the very qualities described in this guide. Over the
last few decades, the way we interact and work together has been going through a radical change. It’s a
paradigm shift so significant that future generations will look back and recognize the birth struggles of
the civilization we thought we had already. Mahatma Gandhi might well agree, because when he was
asked what he thought of Western civilization, he replied, “I believe it would be a very good idea.”
That very good idea is forming. Here’s one indicator. The Huthwaite Group – researching no less than
10,000 salespeople in 50 companies and 23 countries – discovered that the most successful sales method
had an interesting component: genuine interest in the customer. Yes, you read that correctly. The fact that
such a result is a ‘discovery’ indicates something of the change under way. The same study found that
for larger sales, many of the hallowed methods of manipulating people never worked in the long term.
Twentieth century people-management systems and models grew from military models because – it was
presumed – only the military knew how to get people to do the necessary.
You see what this means? Whatever your techniques and strategies, whatever your short term gains, most
people, most of the time, somehow know how genuine you are. They know if you have their interests
at heart.
Forbes magazine says the sharks are learning how to succeed in business by being nice to their competitors.
There’s profit in it. Herb Cohen’s world best-seller You Can Negotiate Anything is dedicated to a man
whose negotiating strategy was to give more than he received. Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly
Effective People says that in the long run we cannot succeed with strategies to influence people if our
character is fundamentally flawed.
Character? It suggests that at some level, people know what we are.
They do. And when we speak in front of an audience the effect is even greater, because the group
consciousness is more able to sense our inner strengths and weaknesses. Deep down we know that. The
implications for leadership and the management of people are staggering. And so are the implications
for the way we set out to persuade, convince and inform people who gather in one place to listen to us.
What we believe most deeply about ourselves and others
has a profound subconscious impact on our audiences.

I know, this is getting in deeper than you might have expected, but stay with me.
In an old Wayne and Schuster skit, Dr Tex Rorschach (Frontier Psychiatrist) interviews a patient lying
on a saloon bar.

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Patient: You mean if I like them, they’re going to like me?
Dr R: Siggie Freud couldn’t have put it better.
My most significant interview in 15 years of broadcasting taught me the same point. I was talking to a
dying five-year-old girl. Nicola had terminal muscular atrophy. She was still well enough to be at school,
though in a wheelchair. She was extraordinarily popular with her classmates, winning their respect
and attention far beyond any sense of pity or duty. In the middle of the interview I commented on her
popularity. Recognizing my words as a question, she screwed up her face to think about it. Then she
said this.
“I think it’s because I like them.”
That from a five-year-old. Liking, of others and ourselves, is a vital component of personal authority.
Don’t mistake me. Personal authority has nothing to do with positional authority – your title, or rank,
or the letters after your name. It has nothing to do with your income, the clothes you wear, the car you
drive, or the house you live in.
I know from my workshops that most people don’t want to become brilliant, ball-of-fire orators; they
just want to be good enough to look confident, credible and authoritative. You can easily achieve that
and – if you want – much, much more, including enjoying yourself. Strong personal authority is inherent
in all of us, waiting to be developed.
How do we get it? We start by giving something.

1.2

Gain personal authority by giving ‘fundamental’ respect

Fundamental respect is the undercurrent of respect you feel for every individual, regardless of
circumstance. Perhaps it is because they occupy the same planet, or perhaps because they breathe the
same air as you do. It’s subtle, it’s never spoken, it’s what Nicola did.
That may seem strange when Mick Jones back there in the fourth row interjects aggressively, picks his
nose, and is known to borrow money from the charity box in the café. But I’m not suggesting you have
to like what he does. Fundamental respect has little to do with what others do and say, it has little to
do with ‘like’ and ‘dislike’, ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’, ‘with us’ and ‘against us’. Fundamental respect does not
come and go with the breeze. It does not judge what other people are. It does not judge what you are.
It values people because they are people.
Your audiences will sense it in you. Sounding familiar? At some level, they know.

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There’s nothing wimpish about fundamental respect. You can assertively disagree with people, even an
entire audience, while practising it. They can sense it in you. They know. Those who cultivate fundamental
respect for others cannot help but emanate strength and presence. Even audiences who oppose your
message will be drawn to you and they won’t know exactly why.

1.3

The fast track to promotion

This guide is about the verbal, vocal and body language of real leadership. When major companies hire a
top executive, what attribute do you think is number one on their priority list? Ability to organize? Ability
to draft good policy? Ability to see a clear vision and plot a course to it? Certainly they’re important,
but number one is something else: the ability to persuade, convince and inspire the people who run the
ship so that it sails smoothly on.
Speak well in front of others and you are noted, consciously or subconsciously by your audiences, as
someone who is destined for higher things. For the ambitious, learning to speak in public is the fast
track to respect, admiration and promotion.

1.4

Which part of your speech carries the greatest impact?

Let’s make two assumptions: first, that feelings and attitudes are important for conveying facts, and
second, that facts are rarely perceived as emotionally neutral. Now, here’s my rule of thumb, based on
everything in my experience of speaking, acting and general broadcasting:

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Fig 1

Of course the proportion varies according to the topic and the audience; scientists for example can
reasonably expect other scientists to absorb their factual content better than most audiences.
Are you thinking that it’s the content that’s important? Well, of course it is. But we’re not talking about
the importance of your content, we’re talking about the effectiveness of your delivery. It’s not what you
tell them that counts, it’s what sinks in. It’s what they take away.
Your ability to persuade and convince depends much more
on how you deliver the message, than on the message.

Late last century, a man called Elliot was diagnosed with a tumour between the left and right hemispheres
of his brain. Keep in mind that the left brain is our main source of decision-making, and the right brain
our main source of feelings. He had the tumour removed by a surgeon called Antonio Damasio.1 It
seemed a completely successful operation.
But it wasn’t, because Elliot’s life soon fell apart. He lost his career – he was a lawyer – his investments,
and his marriage. Also, his friends and relatives noticed two strange behaviours. First, he could not seem
to make decisions, even for something as simple as his next appointment (left brain). Second, he didn’t
seem to have any feelings (right brain); Damasio was more upset by what had happened to Elliot than
Elliot was. What was going on?

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So the research began. In Elliot’s case, the surgery had not damaged the left or the right brain, but it had
severed some of the links between the two. Think of it as links between decision-making and feelings,
and you’ll see where this is going. The findings come in two parts and they may be the most profound
discovery ever made about what drives human decisions:
• We cannot make a decision without involving our feelings.
• Feelings come first, then the decisions (one thousandth of a second later).
In other words, reason needs – and follows – passion. Reason cannot operate in isolation. Now we know
why that huge difference between the impact of what you say and the impact of how you say it.
The decision your audience makes about your message
depends much more on their feelings than their logic.

Can you imagine anything more significant for a presenter? This is surely the end of thinking that just
unloading the facts will do the job. It can be sobering for people in fact-based disciplines to realize that
it’s usually feelings, not logic, that engage their audiences. It is illogical to rely just on logic.
“Any proposition arrived at by purely logical means is devoid of reality.” Albert Einstein
In my last year of a physics degree, the senior undergraduates were invited to attend a lecture on black
holes, given by one of the world’s top astronomers. The man had a high-flying reputation – for his
research, not for his speaking abilities. What a let-down. He was so bad, that every time he turned to
the blackboard another swirl of students disappeared out the side door like asteroids down a black hole.
And we had arrived with specific interest in the message.
As a presenter, you are most of your message. A famous Canadian philosopher of communication theory
put it even more strongly.
“The medium is the message.” Marshall McLuhan
I hope that’s sobering to those who speak in monotones and officialise, or who have surrendered their
authority to PowerPoint. Their speech is a stone that slips into the pond without a ripple. Blank audience
faces mask a desire for it to end, and polite applause expresses relief that it did. Within seconds there’s
no sign that it ever happened.
Consider this.

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Effective presenters do not dispense information,
they translate it.

To be a good translator you have to take into account not just the factual knowledge of your audience,
but also their feelings about the topic. René Descartes got it wrong: his famous line I think, therefore I
am should have been written, I feel, therefore I am. Humans are driven by feelings not facts.

1.5

Making fear work for you
“And Moses said, ‘Please, Lord, don’t send me. I was never a good speaker and I
haven’t become one since you began speaking to me’. ” Free translation of Exodus 4:10

Asked to speak in public, Moses dug his toes into the sand and refused. The Almighty was irritated. But
in this case, fear of public speaking was even greater than fear of His wrath, so He conceded defeat, put
a hold on the bolt of lightning, and summoned Aaron to do the spokesman job.
The fear is real.

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At rest the human heart beats about 70 times per minute. While we are waiting to speak it can go as
high as 190 a minute. That would lead to cardiac arrest if it was sustained, but it does head down after
30 seconds or so. There’s only one other kind of stress reputed to have the same effect. Fear of death. In
one study of 3,000 people in the U.S., the number of people who chose public speaking as their greatest
fear exceeded the number who chose flying and the number who chose death added together. Which
seems to suggests that some of us would rather drop dead at 35,000 feet than speak in public.
Scientists will tell you that when we see the audience looking at us, a message loop starts up in our brains.
The upper brain thinks, ‘Uh oh, I’m afraid’. It then sends – to the amygdala (the seat of our emotions)
and ultimately to the whole nervous system – this message: release the stress hormones! So our heart rate
climbs, our mouth dries, our hands and voices shake. Bad enough you might think, but the brain notices
these results and says, ‘Uh oh, now I’m truly terrified.’ It promptly sends the next message: release even
more stress hormones! And so on.2 In other words, we are often afraid of being afraid.
Fear comes from the mind and that’s where we find the solution. In this book we’ll be putting a stop to
that vicious cycle, replacing it with something much more pleasurable for us and our audiences.
Why are so many of us so fearful?
Deep down, we know that an audience is the most efficient x-ray machine in the world. The moment we
open our mouths in front of an audience, our protective veils will be instantly stripped away; the amount
of personal authority we really have is going to be exposed. One archetypal nightmare has many of us
walking out on stage only to discover that we’re dressed for our original birthday.
Have you tried willpower as a solution to fear? Have you tried the macho Fear is not an option? Doesn’t
work too well, does it? Brute willpower and fear of public speaking simply will not climb into the same
boxing ring.
So fighting fear directly is not the answer.
But consider this. Imagine that you are a bus driver and your bus carries a capacity load of ancestors.
They have agreed to keep quiet most of the time, but when danger looms they’re allowed to get into the
driver’s seat with you. However, you wouldn’t kick them out; it’s a very sensible contract. Your ancient
ancestors learned how to avoid becoming lunch for large carnivores. They developed surges of adrenaline
that allowed for very fast, high-performance reactions. That’s why you have signs of danger-readiness
like dry mouth, wet armpits, cold sweaty palms, swallowing, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

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Your ancestors bequeathed you a body that can be danger-ready in an instant, with an impulse known
as ‘fight or flight’. I’m not suggesting you express that impulse the same way – throwing the furniture at
the audience or fleeing the room may not enhance your credibility – but it’s time to recognize that you
have been left a priceless gift.
Fear is a necessary tool for top performance. Use your
nervous energy to create top performance

See if you can pick this character: as a schoolboy he was shy and awkward in front of his classmates. He
went on to distinguish himself in the Boer War and became an MP in the House of Commons. Even so,
he was still so fearful of public speaking that in the middle of one of his addresses, he lisped, stuttered
and collapsed in a heap on the floor. If you didn’t know that about Winston Churchill, you’ll certainly
know that he went on to become admired as a speaker.
And you don’t have to be a natural. Most speakers are not born, they’re self-made. Your current
performance has nothing to do with your potential. Unless you believe otherwise of course.
“Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are probably right.”
Henry Ford


What are you thinking right now?

1.6

Two life choices

It can’t be a surprise that when you dig deeply into how to become an excellent speaker, you’re going to
find principles that will serve you far beyond the immediate target of speaking.
Here are two such principles. Those who live by them are usually well along the path to mastering their
lives. Make these life choices your own.
LIFE CHOICE 1
Choose your attitude to any circumstance or event

“The great discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by
altering his attitudes.” William James
You can’t directly choose your feelings – they come from your personal history – but you can certainly
choose your attitude. More: your choice can profoundly change the event itself because reality only has
meaning as perceived reality. Your life is shaped more by your reaction to an event than by the event itself.

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A burglar trashes your house? You are not compelled to adopt any particular attitude or reaction. Your
data-projector breaks down at the worst time? The audience hates your message? An interjector questions
the marital status of your parents?
You are entirely free to choose your attitude and your response to any event. Take 1,000 people through
the same event and 1,000 different paths will lead out the other side because at some level, conscious or
otherwise, we do choose our response. It might as well be conscious.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through
the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They offer sufficient
proof that everything can be taken from a man but one last thing: the last of the
human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to
choose one’s own way.” Victor Frankl, psychiatrist
If that attitude was possible under those circumstances, then we can certainly take better control of
our response to much less dramatic events – such as presentations. Feel the strength of knowing that
whatever happens in life, you can consciously choose your response.

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LIFE CHOICE 2
Choose to be comfortable with the feelings of others.
Know that all feelings are beyond judgement.

This can seem bizarre until you realize the huge difference between the feelings themselves and the way
they’re expressed. There is also a huge difference between accepting feelings and accepting facts you
disagree with. In each case, knowing the difference puts you in a position of great strength.
A city council CEO told me he was sitting at his office desk one day, when he heard a commotion. He
put his head out of the door to see what was happening. And there, coming down the corridor, was an
elderly man waving a stick and a rates demand. He was shouting abuse, staff were trying unsuccessfully
to stop him, and he was heading for the CEO. At this point, the CEO could have pulled rank and called
security. Instead, he applied Life Choice 2.
“What’s the matter?” he asked (tone neutral but concerned).
If anything the shouting got louder, and was accompanied by accusations and finger stabbing at the
CEO’s chest.
“Well,” the CEO said, “If I thought that, I’d be angry too. Come and sit down and we’ll see what we can
sort out.”
First there’s the word ‘angry’, which shows that the CEO was willing to acknowledge the man’s feeling
without judgement even though he would shortly be arguing against his perceived facts. Second – and
much, much more subtle – he simply chose to be comfortable in the face of the anger. The anger (not
the way it was expressed) was completely natural given all the influences in that man’s life up to that
moment. His feeling was beyond judgement.
Life Choice 2, is especially useful when handling tough questions and interjections. See The engaging
presenter Part III.

1.7

How to programme your subconscious in advance
“Feelings are the great generator of the universe.” Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
“Imagination rules the world.” Napoleon Bonaparte

Together, those two quotes declare the creative power of the human mind. It’s a power we all use, all of
the time. Some use it knowingly and take control of their lives. But many use it unknowingly and think
that life is controlling them – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

20
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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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How do I turn this guide into real skills?

Our beliefs have more power over our lives than a hurricane. They project from our subconscious,
creating our lives around us as if they were a movie projector creating images on a full-surround screen.
If you grow up believing (not just wishing strongly) that you will get into business, you will. If you grow
up believing that nobody can get a job these days, you won’t. We are a mass of countless beliefs, many
overlapping, adding, subtracting, working for us, working against us. And we’re only aware of a few of
them. The power is not in the truth of the belief, but in the belief itself.
Do these beliefs sound familiar? I’m no good at speaking in public. I always get flustered in front of a group.
I’m useless without my notes. Many people are severely handicapped in life by the simple belief that they
cannot speak easily in front of an audience. Few beliefs are so worthy of change.
And few are so easy to change.
Your subconscious does not distinguish between real and
unreal, it simply follows your instructions.

The following system can be applied to any goal. You can do, have or be almost anything you want. You
will find the essence of this system at the centre of successful willpower, planned action, affirmations,
visualizations, suggestion, hypnosis, meditation and prayer. And the more you throw your passions into
it, the better the results.
Here are the three steps of passionate visualization.
STEP ONE: Make the decision – to become a confident, convincing speaker
Seems too obvious?
Don’t underestimate this step. I’ve had people say to me, ‘Okay, I understand this beliefs thing. I believe
I could be a millionaire if I wanted.’ And I ask them, ‘When did you make the decision to be one?’
There’s a world of difference between ‘could be’ and ‘decision to be’. Countless goals fail for the lack of
a committed decision.
Are you reading this book just to pick up a few tips? You’ll get tips, of course, but if you really want
them to work for you, make the big decision. But don’t make it until you’ve thought it out very carefully.
Is it really what you want? Is the wording of your decision appropriate for you? Should you change the
words ‘excellent speaker’ to ‘confident speaker’? Should you change the word ‘speaker’ to ‘communicator’?
Work it out exactly before you commit. All right, go ahead, make the decision.
Write down the exact wording of your decision, starting
with ‘I am on the way to being…’

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Done it? Good. You just made your subconscious get out of bed and pay attention. It’s now waiting for
your instructions.
“Success is not a matter of spontaneous combustion. You have to set yourself alight.”
Abraham Lincoln
STEP TWO: Visualize passionately
Passion is to visualisation what water is to seedlings. Vividly imagine yourself giving an excellent
presentation and as you do so wallow in the strongest possible feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and
personal strength.
Passion is the magic ingredient. Visualization is well known, but passionate visualization is not – which
is extraordinary because passion is the catalyst that makes the subconscious bound out of bed and start
working for you. Only with focused passion can your imagination start pushing reality into the shape
you want.

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WU\WKLV«

How do I turn this guide into real skills?

Take the phone off the hook, sedate the children and find a quiet spot. Play music that
inspires you. Picture yourself standing in front of a likely audience. Picture the setting.
Picture the walls, with hangings, the curtains, the floor. What’s the texture of the carpet?
What’s the design? Picture the audience, with all the texture and weave and colour of
their clothes. Now put expressions on their faces. They’re looking at you and listening
to your words with considerable interest. You know you’re performing well.
Feel the warm glow of satisfaction.
You recognize some faces of people you know. Give them names. You’re performing so
effectively, with such confidence and authority that many have small grins of enjoyment.
Others are giving those almost imperceptible nods that indicate understanding and
appreciation. What you’re saying is sinking in. Feel the surge of pleasure. Think ahead.
Hear in your mind the words of relatives, friends, colleagues, bosses when they say to
you, “Well done.” “Good job.” “Enjoyed that.” Your buzz of satisfaction becomes an inner
thrill of enjoyment. You have power to influence people.
Feel the strength in you. You didn’t realize how good this could be!
Finally, finish with a flourish and leave with applause ringing in your ears. You have
entertained them, persuaded them, convinced them, inspired them. You have the power
to influence people.
You feel wonderful.

STEP THREE: Make every act and thought consistent with your goal
Make all your subsequent actions consistent with the goal of becoming an excellent presenter. The goal
is inevitable; every step takes you towards it.
Are you one who thinks Don’t pick me? When you are picked, do you think Oh, well, I’d better get it
over with? When you get out there, do you say, ‘I’m not much of a public speaker, so I’ll make this short.’?
If so, then remind yourself now that your subconscious has been taking those and similar thoughts as
commands and turning them into self-fulfilling prophecies.
Take control of the commands you send your subconscious.

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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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How do I turn this guide into real skills?

Modern neuroscience accepts that the brain is a living, changing organism3. The principal agent of change
is you. Your thoughts alter the physical and chemical structure of your brain, weakening or strengthening
the neural networks associated with those thoughts. Every thought makes a subtle change. Repeated
thoughts make bigger changes. Frequently repeated passionate thoughts significantly alter the structure
of the brain and make deep inroads into your subconscious which goes right on obeying you.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts – what he thinks, he becomes.”
Mahatma Gandhi
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What
The Buddha

we think, we become.”
What have you been thinking?

More to the point: what have you been feeling? Are you ready to steer your own passions? Are you ready
to entertain the idea that you could feel confidence and pleasure when you speak?
I urge you to throw heart and soul into the activities ahead in this guide – many of which deliberately
involve your feelings and those of other people.
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually,
who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. (…) As we let
our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson4



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The Engaging Presenter Part II:
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How do I discover my personal performance key?

2How do I discover my personal
performance key?
Have you ever given a presentation while trying to remember a list of instructions on how to perform?
Maintain eye contact, don’t talk to the paper, move around, don’t click the pen, put in pauses, don’t ‘um’,
remember to pause, etc. Such lists can be lengthy, they don’t work very well, and can often increase anxiety.
But what if you had just one phrase – a personal performance key – that would liberate all the right
stuff, automatically, when you need it?
Your personal performance key is a self-command
that liberates excellent performance – automatically

In this chapter, you’ll select (or work out) your own personal performance key. In the near future, you’ll
refine or change your performance key. In the years ahead, your key will become a natural part of you
and you won’t even have to think about it.

Brain power

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Up to 25 % of the generating costs relate to maintenance. These can be reduced dramatically thanks to our
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By sharing our experience, expertise, and creativity,
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Therefore we need the best employees who can
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Plug into The Power of Knowledge Engineering.
Visit us at www.skf.com/knowledge

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